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the ISSUE NO: 266



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We have eaten in the Ritz and The Worsley and found our Stay n Dine @ Le Bouchon was equally as good. We enjoyed our succulent 3 course Meal with our Champagne and particulary enjoyed the boat trip.S. Martin

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We have eaten Afternoon Tea at The Ritz and this was just as good... Gary S.

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The Edge Editor’s Column MERRY CHRISTMAS No, I don’t know what’s come over me either. But I would honestly like to wish all of you regular Edge readers (and sod all those who merely dip in and out of the mag every now and then) a stonkingly good Crimbo. For our part, that’s me and the missus, we’ve already revised our festive dinner options and it’s now going to be a cottage pie (instead of paella) with a turkey crown, long carrots with the green stems left on, parsnips, BRUSSEL SPROUTS (oh yeah, tell me I’m not the only one who loves ’em?), stuffing, pigs-in-blankets, gravy and cranberry sauce (Stokes, if we can get some) to look forward to on Boxing Day (no carb-loaded tatties for us). Why? Because we just want to chill on Christmas Day and we can prepare the cottage pie a couple of days earlier, so that come 25th December, all we have to do is put the oven on and stick it in. Yes, of course it will be followed (though not

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immediately) by traditional Christmas Pud covered in lashings of brandy cream (or custard). But I have to admit, I do get a certain amount of pleasure picturing, in my wicked mind’s eye, all of those joyous families the length and breadth of the country literally stressing to the high heavens over their Christmas day lunch, with condensation streaming down their kitchen windows. Yep, I think about such ‘special moments’ whilst I am quaffing a few glasses of champers and watching Harry Hill’s YBF Christmas Special in me expandable plum coloured jogging bottoms on the sofa with me feet up. Honestly, I can’t help myself. If I know other people are miserable, it makes me all the happier. Like, whenever I’m away on holiday, I always want it to have been raining non-stop in Chelmsford while I’ve been away. So here’s to Christmas day with just me and my missus and all of the blessed day to ourselves with no other bugger to spoil it. Mind you though, we did have a couple of Crimbo’s where we ‘had to entertain’ (is that how you put it politely?) the father-in-law and the TV had to be cranked up in volume, so it’s not as though I’ve never experienced ‘tut other side of tut coin’. But, by and large, it has to be said that yes, I’ve generally ‘got away with it’ (Christmas) quite nicely, thank you very much.

SOCKS Socks are a thing many men will most definitely be on the receiving end of later on this month, only is it just me who always happens to purchase all of the ones that moult? It does my head in. Particularly where those sports ‘pop socks’ are concerned. I mean, one’s feet sweat when one is working out, yes? And when I take my socks off, upon returning home, it’s always looks as though my feet have been tarred and bloody feathered.

THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD It’s something every single one of us needs to watch and be reminded of. I’ve honestly never seen anything like it. Poignant. Sobering. Stark. Absolutely, hideously, real.

DARK HEART Did you tune into the ITV drama series Dark Heart? If you did, you’ll have no doubt spotted a cameo appearance by Charles Lawson as a priest. Only I had to chuckle as Charles Lawson will only ever be Corrie’s Jim McDonald. If ever a chap is typecast, it’s him.

PENSIONERS AT BUS STOP What about that bloke on the mobility scooter, caught on camera, who reversed into those two old biddies while they were waiting for a bus. S’truth, what on earth is the country coming to?

HANDLEBAR MOUSTACHE Why doesn’t newsreader Alistair Stewart liven himself up a bit by growing a handlebar moustache and dying it pink?

HOLLYWOOD PANTS What the devil are Hollywood Pants all about? And, more to the point, where can I get a pair that’ll fit me?

INDIA BOOKED I always need something to look forward to in January and this year it’s 4 nights in Udaipur, followed by 8 nights in Banaulim. Ah, sunshine. Can’t wait. THE EDGE Chelmsford CM2 6XD 077 646 7 97 44

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In all my time as a BGT (back garden twitcher) i.e. not a serious bird watcher, but if they’re feeding on our seeds’n’nuts in tut back garden, then sure, I’ll have a look at ’em - I have never ever heard a bird of any description sneeze. Have you, readers? If they do, I am sure it will be a coo-coo sort of a sound, followed by an almighty atishoo. But I can’t say as though I’ve ever heard a bird ever give it some of that. Which is strange, seeing as they’re out in all weathers, don’t you think? The Edge only raises this point because it had Man Flu quite recently, and hey, if you’re a man, then you know just how bad that can be (like, every single time, right, guys?). Then just as I was starting to feel a bit better, I obviously went and passed it onto my missus, didn’t I (how can you not?). And was she chuffed with me about that? Although Woman Flu is clearly a far tamer version of having a common cold than Man Flu ever is, because who’s ever even heard of Woman Flu, eh? But we’ve all definitely heard of Man Flu and we’re all clearly familiar with Bird Flu. Yet none of us has apparently ever heard a dickie bird sneeze. Which is kind of weird, don’t you think?


Some magazines do that, don’t they? Display an obscure photograph and say to their readers that if they can guess where the photograph was taken and they’re the first name out of the bag with the correct answer, they could win a candlelit dinner for two at said restaurant. Obviously the key word there was some magazines, but certainly not The Edge. In fact, we aren’t even going to tell you which Chelmsford restaurant this particular photograph (above) was taken in. Why should we, when there’s no carrot being dangled and absolutely no prize to be won? If you know, you know, and that’s it.

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It’s (apparently) GREAT to raise frogspawn at home with the kids. But before you go out and find yourself a handful of gloop, there are definitely a few things you parents need to consider. Such as, do you live in a top-floor flat? Frogs and toads return to the very place they hatch in, so do you have a pond in your garden for the critters to come back to? If not, dismiss the whole fricking idea of hatching frogspawn immediately and buy your ickle bleeders a Spacehopper, or something. Another thing to consider is the fact that tadpoles are undeniably messy. So ask yourselves this: are you sure you can cope with bringing the mess of the great outdoors indoors, into your home? If you’re still with The Edge and are raring to go, what’s immediately required is a fresh supply of gloop (froggyspawnitus). You can gather this not at the fish counter in Sainsbury’s, but in swampy areas of moorland (think Yorkshire and Dorset), so as good parents, be prepared to drive a few miles. But first you need a lightweight plastic tank with a reliable lid (check on Amazon). Next up you need to put some weeds in there so that your tadpoles are really happy. (Try your local garden centre.) N.B. Do not put tap water into the tank as the chlorine levels are way too high unless it has

stood for at least 3 days so that all of the chemical has evaporated. Then treat with a FWC (fishtank water conditioner) as opposed to anything by the manufacturer Wella, before carefully placing the frogspawn into the contents. (Also still, not sparkling, supermarket own-brand bottled water is ideal.) Do not attempt to separate the frogspawn and handle it as sparingly as possible. Just so you know the difference, frogspawn is generally a big ball-shaped mass of gloop, whereas toadspawn is on long strings of jelly. After a few days you ought to be able to see ickle black dots in the centre of each individual mini-ball of gloop, although a few of the egg centres may well be white or grey, which means they are in fertile (dead eggs) - but don’t attempt to remove them at this stage. Depending on the weather, it takes roughly 21 days for your tadpoles to hatch. They will eat the jelly and break out of the spawn and immediately become right riveting free swimmers, just like Ross Edgley (see page 27). Initially they will eat the weed (it’s far too wet to smoke) and micro organisms in the water, but you may supplement with a tiny amount of fish food - but only a very tiny amount as you don’t want to pollute the water and kill them. Once a week, change the water. Once they develop back legs it’s a whole different kettle of fish, so read up on it, okay?

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What on earth is the fuss - or make that the fuzz - all about, eh? Fact is, apparently something called Schnauzers are fast becoming the hipsters of the dogging world. Really? Their popularity has seemingly risen through the roof of all canine breeds in Britain, up by a quite staggering 47% compared to 2017, according to RPB (registered pup births) with the Kennel Club. Only please can The Edge press the pause button on this most right riveting of dog-breath articles, because you know it’s not a dog lover at all, right? So can any of you explain just what is so cute about a disgustingly discoloured beard such as the one modeled above? Surely such Pedigree Chum style gravy discolouration is positively minging, isn’t it? Okay, okay, I grant you, if it was a totally white (like Father Christmas topical) or even a grey beard, then maybe, just maybe, this schnauzer would look distinguished. Only it’s not, and it doesn’t. Which makes this dog pretty much look like it’s been washing in another dog’s shart. Moving on, ‘The Rise of the Schnauzer’, whose name means ‘whiskered (gravy stained) snout’, may be due in part to their increasing prevalence on damned, dratted, social media. For example, one Instagram account called (OMG) ‘Schnauzer Lovers’ has more than 74,000 followers, which The Edge thinks is....well, it’s just not right, surely. The breed also, unfortunately, boasts some ‘celebrity owners’, including (the frankly disgusting) Simon Pegg and US rapper 50 Cent, though not, praise the lord, the main man himself, Brian ‘Schnauzer Beard’ Blessed. Come to think of it, while The Edge was in Frinton one Sunday morning recently, sat outside a cafe enjoying a bacon buttie, it kept seeing dog owners walking past with similar looking mutts, all going in the direction of the beach. Turned out to be a Schnauzer Fest of dog-egg proportions. Yes, that’s right, like owners of certain brands of scooters, or TVRs, or Lamborghini motor cars often have a tendency to gather in a pub car-parks from time to time, owners of schnauzers apparently think it’s also a good idea to get together with other schnauzer owners to no doubt discuss how many warm stool-bags their hound has filled this past week/month. And please don’t think The Edge is having a particular pop at schnauzers, dear readers, because it most definitely is not. Truth is, it honestly cannot stand pretty much all breeds of dogs in general. Now that may sound a trifle odd to some of you reading this, but it is, in fact, a little thing called freedom of choice, and it most definitely is allowed.

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It’s been a busy few weeks once again for us, as I (Billy) find myself getting ready to open yet another new restaurant and this time I am back in Chelmsford. I’m sure you will all have seen the signs by now for Middleton’s Steak House & Grill, where Jamie’s Italia used to be? Well that’s what I’ve be currently involved in, so do come along to our official opening night on Friday 7th December if you can. All of our meat is delivered fresh every day from our very own butchery in Middleton, Norfolk, ensuring a delightfully fresh taste each and every time you visit. And why not check out our delicious Sunday Roasts, along with our fixed price menu of 3-courses for only £9.95 available Monday - Friday 12 - 6pm, Saturday 12 - 5pm. Middleton’s Steakhouse & Grill first opened its doors in July 2011. The original Middleton’s was launched in a 17th Century Coaching Inn, previously known as The Crown Inn, just outside Kings Lynn. The Crown on the Middleton’s logo signifies this proud heritage. From its humble beginnings, Middleton’s success has been built on serving fantastic quality fresh food in stylish, comfortable surroundings. Our service is fun and energetic, making our restaurants the perfect place for all occasions. Back to Cocktails & Calamari and this month it’s

Cherry & Almond Tartlets Trust us, these taste absolutely delicious with a nice scoop of clotted cream or vanilla ice-cream

Never leave home without a copy!

in diameter. Then for each circle, score a border 2cm in from the edge. Put the circles onto a non-stick baking sheet and brush with the beaten egg. Bake for 15 minutes. Then take out of the oven and gently push the middles down so that you have a pastry shell. Allow to cool.  To make the frangipane, beat the butter and sugar until pale. Beat the eggs into the mixture one at a time, then the vanilla. Add the ground almonds and flour. Mix well. receivetheedgedirectto yourtabletorcough mixtureorlaptopor whereverthehellyou wanttoreceiveit withoutleaving yourhomeoryour officeoryour deckchair. it’sverysimple. allyouneedtodo isSUBSCRIBE

 Spoon the frangipane inside the tart shells. Mix the jam and fresh cherries and spoon over the frangipane. Cook for another 15 minutes, then cool for 10 minutes and eat warm with vanilla ice cream. Delicious! and they’re so easy to make and are perfect for a Christmas table treat.

Kayleigh & I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy & Prosperous New Year.

Ingredients: Ready-Made Puff Pastry 400g 1 egg, beaten Cherry Jam 4 tbsp 200g Black Cherries, pitted and halved Vanilla ice cream to serve FRANGIPANE 70g Butter, room temperature 70g Caster Sugar 2 eggs Vanilla Extract ½ tsp 70g Ground Almonds 20g Plain Flour Instructions:  Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Roll out the pastry to the thickness of roughly the side of a £1 coin. Cut out 4 circles, each approx. 14cm Page 8

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The Edge was going to do an article about just how irritating it finds Tess Daly’s voice on Strictly (or even down the supermarket, like if she ever decides to get hold of the tannoy in Asda to let late night shoppers know about half-price leeks), only it was surprised to go online and discover that it seems it’s not just her voice that’s putting people’s backs up. Fact is, many folk don’t seem to like Tess Daly, full-stop. Here’s what some non-fan wrote about her on Twatter: “I don’t particularly dislike her, but I do think she lacks talent and is a truly awful presenter. I can never understand how she’s got so far?” Another criticises her...“Lack of spontaneity. Frozen reactions. Seems to have difficulty coping off-script. Cold, dead eyes. Lacks sincerity”... (i.e. switches charm on/off). Oh and this one’s a belter: “Terrible presenter. Far too much forced laughter for my liking. Always seems a bit tense and unsure about what’s going to happen next. Nowhere near as annoying as her husband though.” (Is Vernon Kay even on the tele anymore these days?) So how does it happen that some people on TV are simply not warmed to? Like Anthea Turner, for instance. What did she ever do wrong? Much closer to The Edge’s heart is the seeming fall of presenter Adrian Chiles, who was ditched from his role as a highly paid breakfast telly host alongside Christine Bleakley, before being ousted by the everyman and no-one who is Mark (bloody) Pougatch as ITV’s lead football presenter. That’s just plain and utterly wrong, is that. People mistake Chiles’ dour persona as being miserable, but they’re completely missing the point. The bloke’s a frigging legend, is what he is. Anyway, back to Tess and Strictly, and it’s not as if The Edge tunes in regularly to the programme, especially now that the man-eater that was Kristina Rihanoff is nowhere to be seen, but Ms Daly does appear to be somewhat bland in a cardboard cut-out kind of a way. Winkleman’s alright, but the Beeb surely missed a trick in not pairing her with the exquisite Melanie Sykes.

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Can you draw & colour in the remainder of Santa, kiddiwinkles? Go on, stop yer moaning & yer screeching for 5 minutes & give your Mums & Dads a break! Page 10

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With vinyl sales on the up, it was not surprising to the staff of Intense Records in Chelmsford, that the turntable proved to be one of the most popular Christmas gifts once again last year. The vinyl revival is one of the fairytale success stories of recent times, having faced near-extinction in 2007, when only 205,000 LPs were sold. However, it’s likely we’ll see the best part of three million copies purchased this year, so it’s no surprise that the surge in demand for record players is one of the ‘must-have’ Christmas gifts once again this year. Jon, at Intense, says: “In December we are stocking a wide variety of records that are ideal for Christmas presents, plus a new range of turntables and speaker packages from leading brands such as Rega and Pro-Ject. Packages start from just £189 and include a free selection of vinyl to get your collection started.” If you already own a turntable, Intense can provide you with all the essential accessories to boost your system, from vinyl cleaning products to storage crates. In order to pimp your deck, you can also choose from a range of popular Slipmatt designs, or a design of your own option. Just bring in a picture, or a log,o and Intense will print it for you. Intense Records are the only remaining independent record shop left in Chelmsford and are now a truly established music specialist. Situated under the railway arches, Intense is a walk-in shop and online record store, featuring the latest releases across all genres on vinyl or CD, as well as a vast second-hand section. Alongside dance music, Intense Records have continued to diversify, stocking a lot more genres from rock to pop, indie to jazz, by popular artists such as David Bowie, Prince, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones and many, many more. Make sure you check out Intense Records this Christmas! Intense Records, 33/34 Viaduct Road, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 1TS 01245 347372

This month saw Number Six celebrate it's 4th birthday! Founded in 2014, No.6 are an independently owned and operated clothing and accessories store located next to the Odeon cinema in Chelmsford. With an edit of over 50 mens and womens brands, sourced globally, No.6 work in partnership with some of the leaders in the industry, such as Hugo Boss, Paul Smith, Diane Von Furstenberg and Canali, as well as identifying upcoming brands and bringing them into store. No.6 are also the sole stockist of Canada Goose in the area, so they’ve got your winter coat sorted! Why not shop in store now for your winter wardrobe essentials, or get your Christmas wish-list in place for Santa. Number 6 are also offering a gift wrapping service and late night opening on Thursday evenings throughout December. Earlier this year, No.6 were shortlisted as a Drapers Independents Awards 2018 Finalist. The team celebrated in style at the awards ceremony in London, where they were honoured to be recognised by their peers in the fashion Industry. 2018 also saw the launch of their e-commerce site which enables No.6 customers to view part of their collections on offer from the comfort of your own home, or whilst out on the move. All collections will be online throughout 2019 with all online orders wrapped and despatched by No.6’s dedicated team based at their Chelmsford store. Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all at Number Six.

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So The Edge has been to Southwold again (see page 25) and it would cordially like to bring to your attention this blinding beach hut, aptly called Mr Blue Sky, with part of the lyrics to Jeff Lynne’s Electric Light Orchestra classic written on its windows. So come on, readers, let’s have a bit of a singalong right now, eh? Come onnnnn....let’s be ’aving yooouuuuu!



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Sun is shinin' in the sky There ain't a cloud in sight It's stopped rainin' everybody's in a play And don't you know It's a beautiful new day, hey hey Runnin' down the avenue See how the sun shines brightly in the city On the streets where once was pity Mister blue sky is living here today, hey hey Mister blue sky please tell us why You had to hide away for so long (soooo long) Where did we go wrong? Mister blue sky please tell us why You had to hide away for so long (soooo long) Where did we go wrong? Hey you with the pretty face Welcome to the human race A celebration, mister blue sky's up there waitin' And today is the day we've waited for Oh mister blue sky please tell us why You had to hide away for so long (soooo long) Where did we go wrong? Hey there mister blue We're so pleased to be with you Look around see what you do Everybody smiles at you Hey there mister blue We're so pleased to be with you Look around see what you do Everybody smiles at you Mister blue sky, mister blue sky Mister blue sky Mister blue, you did it right But soon comes mister night creepin' over Now his hand is on your shoulder Never mind I'll remember you this I'll remember you this way Mister blue sky please tell us why You had to hide away for so long (soooo long) Where did we go wrong? Hey there mister blue We're so pleased to be with you Look around see what you do Everybody smiles at you Mister Blue Sky This song makes The Edge feel better because blue sky and sunshine is all it ever needs. I struggle in winter, I really do. So to The Edge, this is like an anthem to better times of pure, unadulterated smiles and happiness. The Edge 077 646 797 44

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Some of you may recall the fact that we have a regular visitor to the garden landscape of ‘Edge Towers’ - where the deer and the antelope roam - in the form of Badwing; thus called because he’s a young starling with a dodgy left wing. Fact is, he (unless he’s a she - how do you tell?) certainly spends far more of its time hopping about than ever it does flying, that’s for sure. It’s also metamorphed before our very eyes and now boasts a typical starling’s mottled chest/breast, which we’re honestly not too keen on as we preferred him/her when he/she was nice and smooth and beige. But its definitely getting tamer where me and the missus are concerned. For instance, when we top up our bird feeders, starlings will sometimes flock in (you surely wouldn’t know their numbers are seemingly in decline if you came round ours) and go ape-shit. I mean, they are proper gannets. But if we merely open our back door, the sound of it makes them all fly off again. All apart from Badwing. It stays put and that’s because we like to think that he/she knows that our quest is to specifically feed him/her, plus a couple of robin redbreasts, and the tits, and that the food is specifically for them and not the other freeloading buggers. Badwing is also the cleanest bird we have every known as it positively loves ruffling it’s feathers in our makeshift birdbath. Then there’s our baby hedge, Humphrey. Yep, big fat mum’s clearly given birth and although sometimes they both turn up to dine on cat food and some special hedgehog grub the missus buys at Wyevale, quite often he’s/she’s (how do you tell?) a loner....just like Badwing.

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Naturally younger Edge readers won’t know what either currency denominations are, and before you ask - no - The Edge has never watched a single episode of Lovejoy. However, we seem to get crazes/fads, don’t we, where one TV programme will tackle, say, a bit of D.I.Y. and before you know it, very similar programmes are on every bleedin’ channel, usually with ‘a star who’s not really a star’ as a presenter, plus a member (being the operative word) or two of Joe Public who fancy themselves a bit in said chosen field. And it’s exactly the same where antiques and second-hand tutt is concerned, and The Edge will willingly hold its hands up and say that so far as it’s concerned, the two are pretty much one and the same.



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Having said that, the formula certainly seems to work. You simply get some punters together, sprinkle in a pair of mustard corduroy flannels, some leather arm-patches, a cravat and a silk head-scarf for a lady (or two), and away you jolly well go, in a nineteen sixties refurbished sports car on a sunny day, if either happens to be handy. Take ‘Cash In The Attic’, which is surely the downmarket equivalent of the upmarket ‘Antiques Roadshow’. What’s that all about? However, I’d be absolutely overjoyed if there was anything worth ought up in t’attic at ‘Edge Towers’, although I doubt a 2016 four-berth tent complete with porch’n’pegs will fetch very much. The ones that really make The Edge cringe are those where a contestant will wander into an antiqueified shop somewhere that honestly doesn’t look as though it smells too good. Then they’ll, or so they think, spot a bargain and try to do a deal with the lank, greasy haired proprietor (who incidentally makes his living out of ‘selling tutt’) who doesn’t look as though he’s had a shower that morning (nor the previous morning, come to that) before taking said item along to an auction house in order to try and garner a profit. Lo and behold, sometimes they do. And after deducting the auction fees, sometimes the wily old contestants will come out of it 35p in profit. So can anyone explain to The Edge (via email is fine - please don’t bother to ring me, as it’s kind of a rhetorical question) just what is the point of TV programmes such as these? If - if - I had an old boat oar up in me rafters that I was using to prop something up from falling over in a corner, only it turns out it’s from the Golden Hind and I can sell it on and buy myself an Aston Martin, then fine, bring it on. That’d make for PGT (pretty good telly). It’s just that nothing like that ever seems to happen, which makes The Edge question what is the point of antiques - and tutt in general - at all? Not when there are plenty of shops selling nice, clean, modern, new stuff? Appreciate it’s horses-for-courses and if you’re into bric-a-brac, then fine. But by-and-large, surely, normal folk aren’t. So what’s it all doing being shown on prime-time television? The Edge 077 646 797 44

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Yes, yes, I know what I said, back on page 4, in my very own Editor’s column. But, see, that’s the pressure of Christmas for you, isn’t it? Because even though no-one’s going to see us, and no-one’s going to even know, we’ve already decided that we cannot possibly have paella, or cottage pie, for our Christmas day lunch. So, damn-and-blast-it, it looks as though we’re going to be having BLOODY TURKEY along with the rest of you! Talk about copping out. However, no way will the veg be getting peeled on Christmas day. Nope, I’m not having that. Christmas day is for slowly getting sozzled on, so the prep will need to be done on Christmas eve, or quite possibly, even Sunday 23rd December. So where else is the inevitable pressure going to come from? Buying my wife a present or two/three, I should imagine. Because have I a scoobie’s what yo get her? No, not a flaming clue. But a cheque in a Crimbo card simply doesn’t cut the mustard, does it? Trouble is, my wife likes lots of ickle presents wrapped up so that she can keep on opening them throughout the festive day. But you know the problem with that, don’t you? The very last one she opens has got to ‘top the rest’, hasn’t it? It’s got to trump all of those that have gone before, such as the tin opener and the Red Stripe 4-pack. Yet another pressure is what to wear on 25th December, even though, as I’ve already admitted, we won’t even be setting foot outdoors. That said, I’ve already (just this second) answered my very own question. Fact is, I’m going to have to buy myself a brand new/improved pair of tracky botties, aren’t I? Because you want to be comfortable around the midriff region on Crimbly day, don’t you? Because that’s the area that’s going to expand, is that, so a tight-ish pair of jeans is most definitely out. So that’s a bit more money down the swanny that I hadn’t particularly bargained on spending, but you’ve got to make the effort, haven’t you? (Christ, even Jim Royle used to wear a clean vest to sit about the ’ouse in on Christmas day!) And there’ll be a lot more build up of pressure come the very day itself, just you wait and see, readers. Aye, just you bloody well wait and see!



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Early days, but have to say, The Edge has been seriously underwhelmed by the start of this years contest, although it has to be said, it’s only watched as handful of the shows thus far.

Surely Nick Knowles is nicely placed to be crowned ‘King of the Jungle’ though, isn’t he, as he seems to be an all round good egg (plus it was a bird wot won it last year - Toff). But this year, the nation’s eyes will be even more keenly attuned to the presenters, and in particular Holly Willoughbelobelob, who

The Edge feels has made an absolutely blinding start. Should the rogue-rat that is Antony McFartpants be worried? Yes, The Edge reckons he most definitely should be, as Holly & Dec are clicking nicely - plus I’ll bet she’s a better driver than Ant too. Reckon Harry’s only in it for the money, but what’s Anne Hegerty doing in there at all? The jungle is a serious place to lose weight though, so perhaps that was a factor in her thinking. Maybe, just maybe, I’m A Celebrity has run its course...or do you reckon it will always be there, like Christmas itself? Who knows, perhaps it’s time to introduce venomous spiders and snakes in order to keep the ratings up? Update: It’s all got brilliant since Noel Edmonds arrived. They normally send in a ‘surprise package’ and Noel’s a top man.



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Couples getting married usually have to wait until the reception to raise a glass to their future. (Really? Like hell. Surely the groom at least is very often to be found in the pub prior to walking (nay, zig-zagging) down the aisle, or perhaps surreptitiously splitting a 4-pack with the best man ‘out back’ somewhere). But the opportunity to do so could come much earlier on the big day itself if weddings are allowed to take place in pubs under grand a shake-up of the rules. Our ‘Chinless Chancellor’ has recently announced a review of marriage law aimed at boosting the hospitality sector. Ministers will look at axing a swathe of restrictions, including a ban on alcohol being served during proceedings and on ceremonies taking place outdoors. Our ‘Chance’ exclusively informed The Edge, “I’d like to make outdated rules around wedding venues much simpler by reducing red tape... barph, scoff, etc.” A review of the laws of civil ceremonies in England and Wales would be conducted by the Law Commission. It will also consider how to

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accommodate increasing demand from couples to have a legally binding ceremony outdoors, which is currently only permitted in Scotland, generally in the pouring rain. To get a licence to hold weddings, a venue must currently identify a specific area where the ceremony will take place. Said ‘specific area’ must be a part of the building, rather than in the open air, or in a marquee. The licence holder must also undertake that no food or alcoholic drinks are sold or consumed in said area one hour before, as well as during, the match/proceedings. Ministers believe this means many small business owners are put off trying to get a licence, thus restricting choice and driving up the cost for couples (and in particular the father of the bride, or doesn’t he have to fork out single-handedly for the whole caboodle anymore these days?). A relaxing of the rules could make it cheaper and simpler for couples to get married in the future, although there will obviously be concerns about how the dignity of ceremonies will be preserved, because you know what some people

are like when you give them an inch, don’t you? The Church of England has responded to such an announcement with, as you might expect, severe caution. A policy adviser for the CoE has said, “If new proposals are made, we shall look at them from the standpipe of Christian faith and the conviction that marriage is an incredibly important institution.” Hmmmmm, such an ‘important institution’ that 42% of marriages in England and Wales end up in - yep, you guessed it, readers - divorce. So, all things considered, what do we think to such plans then, eh? After all, how many people who get married these days would even call themselves remotely religious, so is it really necessary to be saying your vows in church? Oh lordy, The Edge can see the future now. The bride and groom staggering out the Ivory Peg and having their wedding snaps taken in front of the back entrance of Chelmsford’s H&M store. To be honest, I think an awful lot of couples will welcome this news, as it will simply increase choice, and whatever can be wrong with that? So speak now, or forever hold your peace.

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UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE Well I for one think the Uefa Nations League has definitely breathed new life into Inter-national football. I never thought there would be a day, outside of the World Cup and European Championships, where watching England would have me on the edge of my seat. That’s exactly what happened when Harry Kane slotted home an 85th minute winner for England that saw them progress to the finals, following a 2-1 win over Croatia. The victory probably doesn’t make up for the defeat we suffered at the hands of the same opponents in the semifinal of the World Cup earlier this year, but the Nations League has turned out to be much better, and far more entertaining, than many previously anticipated. I guess one of the major problems the tournament initially faced was that a lot of regular football fans didn’t really understand the format, but I am sure that over time the biennial tournament will take off. Now that the results are in and the tables have been worked out, I am excited about the future of international football and feel that it could even provide competition to the domestic leagues. For those still struggling to understand how the tournament works, there are 55 of Europe’s nations

split into 4 groups based on their rankings (the highest ranking teams in League A and the weakest teams in League D). Each of those leagues are then split into smaller groups. England were the winners of 12 countries in League A and were placed in Group 4 alongside Spain and Croatia. As England finished top of their group, following impressive wins against both Spain and Croatia, they now progress to the semi-finals, along with the other group winners within League A. The late winner from Kane actually relegated Croatia to League B next year, as promotion and relegation takes place for the best and worst performing teams in each league. I am sure that many of you will agree that International friendly football has been in decline for a number of years, to such an extent, in fact, that many players would prefer to stay with their club sides rather than willing a cap for their country in a meaningless friendly. The atmosphere at Wembley, created by the sense of having something to play for, will surely leave players queuing up to get into Gareth Southgate’s new look England side. By finishing top of their group, England now have a genuine opportunity of winning a trophy. Can you imagine that? At the very




POLITICAL HORROR SHOW Regardless of how everyone voted in the referendum, I am sure we can now all agree that Britain’s exit negotiations from the EU have been an absolute shambles. Two and a half years on from Britain voting to leave the EU, a copy of the draft withdrawal agreement, drafted by British and European negotiators, backed by the UK Cabinet, was released. At the time of going to press there have been a series of ministerial resignations and Theresa May’s job as Prime Minister was hanging by a thread. She urged her rebel party not to trigger a leadership contest, as her view is that toppling her won’t help to deliver Brexit, whereas I wholeheartedly disagree and hope that by the time you read this, she will no longer be running our country. As far as I am aware, other options are still available and even a 'no deal' has to be better than her draft proposal that includes a backstop arrangement keeping the country inside the single market and the customs union to avoid a hard border between

Northern Ireland and the Republic. The draft proposal includes an ‘independent review mechanism’ which is seen by many, including myself, as a loophole forcing the UK to stay in the European Union indefinitely. Thankfully, due to conservative brexiteers and rebel remainers, the DUP and Labour, this agreement is unlikely to gain approval in Parliament. This leaves the future extremely uncertain and it’s clear that any solution is a long way off. For what it’s worth, I think this whole mess could quite possibly end in a second referendum, although I am certain it will end in the same result. The British public want out and it is about time politicians in Westminster deal with this in a sensible and pragmatic way, instead of looking for ways to keep us tied to the EU indefinitely.




least, we now have 2 consecutive summers of International Football to look forward to, with Euro 2020 following the inaugural Nations League Finals in Portugal next summer.











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Gangster Number One Now this is what The Edge calls the perfect family movie for Christmas Day evening, once the turkey and Crimbo pud has digested a bit. I first watching it in the very early hours of a Saturday morning, because I like to prolong my Friday evenings as much as is humanly possible, as they are by far the best nights of the entire week, right? Only then I ended up watching it on the Saturday night as well, when I was a little bit more compos mentis, and I loved it equally both times. Oh and, fact is, I even watched it the following weekend as well, so I think you’ll agree that this movie comes very highly Edge recommended indeed. Oooh, it’s the sheer nostalgia of it all. The film stars Malcolm McDowell and Paul Bettany (see bottom of page) as both the wannabe gangster, young and old, as well the pretty much always excellent David Thewlis as Freddie (f *** ing) Mays. It’s the swinging sixties and Mays is in his pomp as an influential, yet cultured, top London mobster who recruits an aggressive, ambitious blonde,

Later that same night, in a double-whammy of gargantuan proportions, the gangster decides to pay Lennie Taylor a visit and tortures him to death. Bugger, The Edge is spoiling this movie for you now, isn’t it? Although I’m sure you’ll agree this film would undoubtedly provide ‘fun for all the family’ - and then some - as Christmas day fast approaches Boxing day. Only the gangster discovers 24hrs later that Freddie Mays is not, in fact, brown bread, but is hospitalised instead. Then, to make matters worse, Mays is wrongly convicted of Lennie Taylor’s death and is promptly sent to the clink for 30 long years. Naturally, with Mays out of the picture, our lurchlike gangster friend decides to take his place and sets about consolidating his power over the

eager-to-please, lanky young man as an enforcer. At first, his propensity for extreme and imaginative violence impresses Mays, but the impressionable young man quickly becomes obsessed and grows increasingly jealous of both May’s success and his glamorous lifestyle. He quickly discovers that Mays has a rival in Lennie Taylor (see Jamie Foreman above, opposite Thewlis) who would like to get shut of Mays, permanently. But instead of warning his boss, the gangster lies low and lets the attack take place, before doing away with the only other member of his very own gang who’d gotten wind of the impending assault. The attack on Mays goes ahead as planned, while the gangster sits and watches from a car nearby. Taylor’s gang also slit the throat of Mays’ fiance, Karen (Saffron Burrows).

city’s underworld. In a sequence of years spanning the seventies, eighties and nineties, he organises a bank heist, opens a casino, fixes horse races and builds up Mays’ old gang to over 300 men. The two eventually meet once again, after Mays is released from prison, with the latter's sole intent being only to marry Karen, who has waited for him all of her life. So I guess the only thing The Edge isn’t going to tell you is how it all eventually ends. Hey, don’t mention it. I’ll spare you all that much. This is undoubtedly a violent, yet stylish and somewhat compelling movie in an almost hypnotic kind of a way. It certainly gripped me from start to finish and definitely beats watching The Great Escape once again. Definitely in The Edge’s ‘Top 20’ flicks of all time.

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CHRISTMAS FACTS? Scientists have calculated that Santa would have to visit over 800 homes per second in order to deliver all of the world’s presents on Christmas Eve, travelling at a speed of 650mps (miles per second). During Victorian times, mince pies were made with beef and spices. There is no reference whatsoever to angels ever singing in the Bible. Almost 60million Christmas trees are grown every year in Europe. Jesus was probably born in a cave, admit Biblical scholars. In 1647, after the English Civil War, Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas festivities for a period which eventually lasted for 14 think yourselves bloody lucky. Jingle Bells was the first song broadcast from space when Gemini 6 astronauts Tom Stafford and Wally Schirra sang it on 16th December 1965. Santa has many different names throughout the world, including Kriss Kringle in Germany, Le Befana in Italy, Pere Noel in France and Deushka Moroz (Grandfather Frost) in Russia. The bestselling Christmas single ever is Bing Crosby’s ‘White Christmas’, which has shifted over 50million copies worldwide since 1942. Christmas pudding was originally a soup made with raisins and wine. Boxing Day gets its name from all of the money collected in church alms-boxes for the poor and needy. The Beatles hold the record for the most Christmas number 1 singles topping the charts in 1963, 1965 and 1967. The highest grossing Christmas movie to date is 2000’s ‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas’. Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer was actually invented by a US department store in order to promote their Christmas colouring books back in 1938. Santa’s other reindeers are called Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Duner and Blixem. The latter two are the German vords for thunder and lightning and evolved into Donner and Blitzen. Gold (chocolate) coins apparently commemorate St.Nicholas who used to dish out bags of gold coins to the poor. The two week period immediately before Christmas is one of the most popular times for couples to break up, so be warned. Japanese people traditionally eat a KFC for their Christmas dinner. There are 364 gifts listed in total in ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’.


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It's my Scouse nephew Billy's birthday today, so I've surprised him by putting a £10 note in his Nan's purse.

THE VENTRILOQUIST A young ventriloquist is touring the clubs and one night he's doing a show in a small town. With his dummy on his knee, he starts going through his usual dumb blonde jokes. Suddenly, a blonde woman in the fourth row stands on her chair and starts shouting, "I've heard enough of your stupid ass blonde jokes! What makes you think you can stereotype women in such a way? What does the colour of a person's hair have to do with her worth as a human being?” She’s proper p ssed off, so continues: “It's guys * like you who keep women like me from being respected at work and within the community and from reaching our full potential as a person. You and your kind continue to perpetuate discrimination against not only blondes, but women in general, and all in the name of humour. You’re pathetic." The embarrassed ventriloquist begins to apologise, but the blonde yells, "You stay out of this, mister. I'm talking to that little bastard on your knee."

BORED HOUSEWIFE I received an email today from a ‘bored housewife, aged 32, fit, looking for some action’. So I arranged to send her a weeks supply of my washing and ironing to help keep her busy.

EMOTIONAL A physician has a four-year-old daughter. On their way to pre-school, he has accidentally left his stethoscope on rear car seat next to his little girl in the back. She picks it up and begins playing with it. ‘Oh my,’ thinks her proud father, ‘my daughter wants to follow in my footsteps’. He became quite emotional. Until his daughter spoke into the instrument: "Welcome to McDonald's. Please may I take your order?"

TWO ESKIMOS Two eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, but when they lit a fire in the craft it sank. Proving once and for all that you cannot have your kayak and heat it.

STORM BREWING A husband returned home from a trip abroad, just as a storm was hitting, with crashing thunder and severe lightning. As he crept into his bedroom at 2.00am he found his two children in bed with his wife, scared out of their wits by the loud storm. So he resigned himself to sleeping in the spare bedroom that night. The next day, he explained to his children that it was okay to sleep with mommy when a storm

was bad and scary, but when he was expected home after being away with work for a week, he asked them not sleep with her that night, no matter how bad a storm got. His children both agreed. After his next trip away several weeks later, his wife and kids picked him up at the airport terminal at the appointed hour. Since the plane was a little late, many people had come into the airport to wait for its arrival. When they eventually caught sight of their father, the kids excitedly shouted from a distance, "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy. Nobody slept with Mummy while you were away this time."

BLACK & LACY A wife began hinting that she wanted something black and lacy for Christmas. So her husband bought her a pair of football boots.

MR. SUGARBROWN’S DAUGHTER A little girl, when asked her name, would always reply, "I'm Mr. Sugarbrown's daughter." Upon hearing this, her mother told her this was wrong and that she must say, "I'm Jane Sugarbrown." Soon after, one Sunday morning, the Vicar said to the little girl at Sunday School, "Say, aren't you Mr. Sugarbrown's daughter?" She promptly explained, "Well, I thought I was, but my Mommy tells me I'm not."

BOIL IN THE BAG Does anyone know how long you cook those ‘boil in the bag fish’ that you win at a fun fair?

FAR TOO ROUGH A little girl asks her mother, "Can I go outside and play with the boys?" Her mother replies, "No, you can't play with the boys. They're far too rough." The little girl thinks about this for a few moments and asks, "Well what if I can find a smooth one, can I go play with him?"

APOLOGY My wife apologised for the very first time today. She said she's sorry she ever met me.

BEST GOLF EVER An avid golfer was involved in a terrible car crash and was rushed to hospital. Just before he was put under anaesthetic, the surgeon popped in to see him. "I have some good news and some bad news," he said. "The bad news is that I’m going to have to remove your right arm." "Oh god, no!" cries the man. "My golfing days will be over. Please, Doc, please tell me what the good news is?" The surgeon says, "The good news is I have another arm to replace yours with, but it's a woman's arm and I'll need your permission before I can go ahead with the transplant?" "Go for it," says the man. "As long as I can still play golf again, that’s all I’m worried about." Well, the operation goes well and a year later the man is out on the golf-course when he happens to bump into the surgeon. "Hey, how's the new arm?" asks the surgeon. "Just great," says the golfer. "I'm actually playing the best golf of my life. My new arm has a much finer touch, and my putting has really improved." "That's great," says the surgeon. "Not only that," continued the golfer, "my handwriting has improved, I've learned how to sew my own clothes and I've even taken up painting landscapes in watercolors." "Wow! That's unbelievable!" says the surgeon.

"I'm so glad to hear the transplant has turned out to be such a great success. Are you having any side effects at all?" The golfer thinks for a moment, before admitting, “My parallel parking’s turned to shit.”

FEMININE SIDE My wife said I needed to get more in touch with my feminine side. So I crashed the car, burnt the dinner and ignored her all day for no reason.

FRENCH LAW A French Gendarme stops an Englishman's car and asks if he has been drinking. With great difficulty, the Englishman admits that he has been drinking all day long, that his daughter got married that morning, and that he has consumed copious amounts of champagne plus a fair few bottles of wine, not to mention a few single malts after that. Upset by this news, the Gendarme proceeds to breath-test the Englishman and verifies that he is indeed completely hammered. He asks the Englishman if he knows why, under French Law, he is going to be arrested. The Englishman answers, "No, sir, I do not. Surely you must realise that this is a British car, with right-hand-drive, where my wife is seated, yet you are talking to me through the passenger window, where I am indeed sat.”

CHESS ENTHUSIASTS A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour the manager came out of his office and asked them to disperse. "But why?" they asked. "Because," he said, "I can't stand chess nuts boasting in an open foyer."

FAMOUS GROUSE I went to the offy on my bicycle one Friday afternoon and bought a bottle of Famous Grouse. I put it in the basket in front of my handlebars. As I was about to start pedaling home, I thought to myself that if I fell off, the bottle of whisky would probably smash. So I drank the lot before cycling home. As it happens, it turned out to be a very wise decision, because I proceeded to fall off my bike a total of 18 times on the ride back home.

ANNOYED My wife was clearly extremely annoyed at me this morning for not opening the car door for her. I would have, but I was far too busy swimming to the surface.

TWINS I phoned my wife earlier on and asked her if she wanted me to pick up fish and chips on the way home from work, but she just grunted dismissively at me. To be honest, I think she still regrets letting me name our twins.

SPOONERISM AWARDS Rumours of a lack of food at the Spoonerism Awards lunch turned out to be a lack of pies.

ELEPHANTS Q. How come elephants never get caught hiding in trees? A. Because they’re so damn good at it.

CHRISTENING "Name?" "Dave f*** ing c*** ing Smith." "Do you suffer from Tourette's, Dave?" "No. But the vicar who Christened me did."

All jokes published are supplied by Edge readers. Please send your ‘egg yokes’ to




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natives to democracy are. Presumably the curriculum hasn’t yet caught up with Trumpism. When they get round to adding it, the characterisation will undoubtedly be angry old white men trying to turn back the hands of time.

Greetings from the Californian sunshine where more than half of those that stayed up all night on 6th November breathed a heartfelt and much relieved ‘phew’. Actually, the more excited and possibly inebriated danced in the street.

In recent years there has been a lot of hand-wringing because it seems that civics lessons have gradually dropped from the curricula of too many schools. As a result we have generations of citizens that don’t understand how lucky they are to live in a democracy and what their responsibilities are to maintain that luck.

Why the excitement? November 6th was polling day out here and after two years of Trump, the nation got its first chance to say “Oi. You. Donald. No.” OK, so US politics is of minimal interest to you in Chelmsford. But it shouldn’t be. At least not in the uncertain world in which we now live. So, why’s that then? Well, because the western world seems to be falling out of love with democracy. And, as Winston Churchill once said, “Democracy is the worst form of government. Except for all the others”. There again, he also said, “The biggest argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.” Never let it be said he allowed his principles to get in the way of a good line. Anyway, the point is that Trump, aided by the ring-kissing enablers in the Republican party, would very much like to be a proper Emperor. He’d like to be able to close news organisations that don’t think the sun shines from his rear end, imprison his political enemies, stack the courts with judges that will look the other way over his own, er, indiscretions. The perfect model for guys like Trump is Putin’s Russia. A ‘democracy’ with only one man on the ballot and unlimited opportunity for self enrichment. But he is what he is - a self-obsessed, lying, ignorant, racist, misogynist bully. A repulsive example of humanity. What is much more worrying is that so many people out here worship him. Why would you support someone that wants to take away the only weapon you have to change

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your lot in life? Your vote. It’s not just here in the US; the populations of Brazil, most of Eastern Europe, and to some degree at least, the UK, have also succumbed to right wing populism. What is it that makes people want to live in a country where they have no say in how they are governed? A country where they have no power to change the leader when his or her corruption is uncovered, as it always is? Well, maybe it’s ignorance. Not general ignorance, but specific ignorance. A lack of understanding that their vote is a valuable commodity and should be a cherished asset. Many people died for the concept of universal suffrage - why do some treat their vote so cheaply that they are prepared to lose it at the altar of a good salesman (“I alone can fix it”) out to enrich himself? There are no obvious answers to that question, but if you accept that some people just don’t understand the value of their vote, then you have to point the finger at the education system. Out here in the US, ‘civics’ is/was taught in schools. In very basic terms it is a lesson focused on why American democracy came about, how it works practically and who is responsible for what. Also, importantly, what the alter-

In the UK the idea of educating pupils about citizenship is a relatively recent innovation. But the focus seems to be more of a general bucket into which all sorts of subjects are tossed. As such, the importance of political education is somewhat diluted. The rise of populists, almost always from the far right, around the world is a worrying trend. At least, it’s worrying to those of us that value the freedom to change our leaders every now and then and don’t want the country’s resources ripped off for the personal gain of the Dear Leader. For those of you still toying with the idea that a ‘strong man’ is just what the UK needs to sort out the incompetence from all sides creating the Brexit shitstorm, remember this. First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I am not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me. Happy Christmas.

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THE EDGE LOVES SOUTHWOLD So long as the weather’s bearable, and fortunately it was, I honestly don’t think you can beat a tipple (or three) and an idle spot of weekend people watching, do you? There’s also the Adnams shop to go in and have a mooch about, plus a certain Collen & Dare unisex clothing boutique that I thought I’d treat Mrs Edge to a bobble hat in - until I spotted the price - £87. For a bobble hat (cough, splutter). But, you see, that’s where Southwold is these days. It’s gone on trend/up market, and if you haven’t visited it for a fair few years, you honestly won’t recognise the place - although personally speaking, I think it’s definitely improved for the better.

I do. I oh so do. And thank god we have now discovered a lovely little seaside resort that is pretty much just a 1hr 15mins drive up the A12. We arrived just before 09:30am on a lovely sunny Saturday morning in early November, had a bracing stroll into the breeze along the prom and promptly seated ourselves outside Suzie’s seafront cafe for a couple of bacon and egg baps, from which Mrs Edge promptly let her yoke drip straight down the front of her scarf. From there, as you walk up the stone steps in order to reach the town centre, you will discover H&J, which I believe sells the best (bar none) ice-cream I have ever tasted. Only they didn’t have my favourite gingernut flavour on display, so I decided to restrain myself as I’d only been in Southwold about an hour at this point. Instead, we opted for a pre-lunch beverage sat outside the Crown Hotel - a G&T for the missus and an Adnams Broadside for yours truly.

Then there’s a place called Slate that sells delicious cheeses, pickles and pork pies. And I’m also itching to try out Enzo’s for pizza and pasta in the not too distant future. However, a particular favourite haunt of ours is the Cornish Bakery, which we headed for first thing on Remembrance Sunday morning with the sun streaming in through its windows. Their coffee and danishes - particularly the bacon & cheese variety - are absolutely to die for. All in all, there’s just something about Southwold and it’s pretty much ‘got the lot’, all in a tight knit package so that you don’t have to wander off here, there and everywhere in order to see it. Our overnight stay cost us £75 for the campervan hire + £25 for a pitch at the local campsite (with electrical hook-up). Or you could choose to spend a fair bit more at either the Swan, the Crown, or Sutherland House. Choose whatever floats your boat, but just go there and enjoy yourselves, because I assure you, it is absolutely worth it. Oh and whilst we were there I spotted Tim who serves the curry at Chelmsford Beer Festivals and Michael Buerk, the former TV newsreader! Page 25

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A few weeks ago I got a call from my mobile phone provider, informing me that my number had been coming up on reports of spam and nuisance calls, and unless I was actually in the habit of randomly calling dozens of strangers every day, it was likely my number had been cloned, or even possibly, my phone had been hacked. They were really good about it all and talked me through what I should do (basically reformatting my phone and deleting everything) before they issued me with a new number. So that part was pretty straight forward, but then the real work began. As I’m sure most of you do, I have pretty much everything on my phone. I bank via my phone, I have three email accounts and multiple apps I use for taxis on my phone, trains, shopping etc., and most of these will contain personal and financial data. Consequently, an entire morning was spent calling and emailing various companies to ensure that nothing had been tampered with and I wouldn’t suddenly receive a package of various sex toys or member enlargement supplements. As it turned out, I was lucky. Aside from what looked like a couple of spam emails and texts that went out, nothing really untoward happened, although it does look like they may have had access to my phone, which did make me feel a little bit weird and violated. Fortunately, I’m not one to store any potentially embarrassing messages or photos, at least of me. I’m part of a WhatsApp group at work that

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THE PHONE HACKER we’re supposed to use to share traffic information or keep in touch with the team when we’re out of the office. Such messages are few and far between and the group is usually employed to send round what can only be described as filth, so whoever did gain access to my phone would have enjoyed some pornography of the highest calibre. In the end, it was all a bit of a nonevent and sorted out in a day, but I know I was lucky and it did give me a wake-up call as to how dependent I am on my phone, yet I’d actually class myself as a light user of all the apps and mobile technology available these days. Even so, I’ve since tried to pare this down even further,

which is something that brings its own challenges. Since abandoning Facebook I’ve already noticed how less frequently I contact people, or am contacted in return. I still get messages and sometimes even actual phone calls from people (other than my girlfriend or my mother), but actual ‘contact’ from friends and acquaintances has definitely dropped, now that we can’t simply make a one-line comment onto a post or picture and we have to actually search for a number and then text it or call it. It sounds stupid and that’s because it is, and it’s because we’re all getting far too used to clicking a ‘like’ button and thinking that counts as

keeping in touch. Rather than seeing my name pop up on Facebook, which they’re already using and sending me a quick ‘hello’, people now need to actively do something in order to contact me. Yes, it’s a two-step process that takes less than a minute, but it’s still one step more than if they could just hit me up on Facebook like they used to. I’ve now added a tiny element of inconvenience into the process and for a lot of us nowadays, that’s seemingly not on. We’re all so busy and time is in such short supply that convenience really is king these days. Yet now I know how easy it was for someone to gain access to my phone and everything it contains, am I about to give up all the convenience it offers? No, of course not. Cyber-crime is shockingly commonplace in today’s world. In fact, I believe you’re 40% more likely to be a victim of cyber-crime than good old fashioned physical crime at the moment. I don’t think any of us are going to stop using our phones to help run our lives, but it is worth remembering that what’s convenient for us is also (obviously) convenient for criminals. So be smart, be careful and protect yourself as much as you possibly can, and don’t believe you can ever be 100% safe - not unless you ditch your phone, your tablet, your emails, and turn off your internet connection, because otherwise you can’t be. Convenience is great, but don’t forget there’s always a price to pay for it. You can have convenience or security, but you can’t have both.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ME! I’ve had a stroke of good fortune lately as my trusty old Land Rover started spewing oil from what looked like every available orifice on the journey home from the office one night. I limped the last few miles, opened the bonnet, only to discover everything covered in a sea of hot sludge - and I do mean everything - including the inside of the bonnet itself.

drove excruciatingly carefully) and when I got to the office explained the situation to my boss, who promptly gave me the next day off and sent me to our facilities and fleet manager who arranged for a car to be delivered to my house the following morning, which was nice.

My oil light had only briefly flickered on and off and there were no ominous grinding noises from the engine, so I was hopeful that nothing too bad had happened. But where cars are concerned, you just never know when an unexpected bill of a few hundred pounds is coming your way, so I was obviously nervous about what the damage, both to my car and my wallet, was going to be. Car trouble is a particular issue for my girlfriend and I as we live in a rural location. Our nearest fuel station is 8 miles away and with our work schedules and the kid’s school times, it means it’s very difficult to drop each other off at the train station on a work day. What’s more, you won’t get a bus for love nor money, so it means a £15 cab journey (each way) followed by £15 for the train, which means a full commute under emergency circumstances can cost almost £50 per day. Fortunately my other-half wasn’t working the following day, so I borrowed her new car (which I Page 26

heated seats. And to be honest, I’ve really been enjoying my commute to work an awful lot more than usual for the past couple of weeks. As it’s turned out, the only problem with my Freelander was the ‘O’ rings on my dipstick being worn, so it popped out and sprayed oil everywhere. So all I’ve had to have done is a steam clean and new dipstick fitted, so I can get my car back on the road pretty much as soon as I like. But obviously I’m dragging my heels doing that now as work have said I can keep the Kia until Christmas, so I’m definitely making the most of it. However, the best stroke of luck has been my boss telling me they’re giving me a £400 a month car allowance, so for Christmas I’ll be shopping for a brand new car of my own, and if I play my cards right, I can fund it all through my allowance and basically get a motor for free.

One of these will do me nicely. So at the moment I’m driving a brand new Kia Sportage and I must admit, I really like it. So far I’ve had three cars (I passed my driving test fairly late in life, you may recall) and they’ve all been clunky 4x4’s between 12 - 20 years old, so the Sportage is the first new car I’ve ever driven and I think I’m starting to see why people spend so much money on their motors. It’s quiet, fast, really comfortable, and I just love its

So now I’ve experienced the world of new cars, with all the mod-cons, I’ll be aiming for that right? Not likely. The lure of getting a stupidly large pick-up is far too strong for me, so with any luck, by the New Year I’ll be back to plodding along the A127 in a clunky 4x4. Admittedly it’ll only be 3 or 4 years old, rather than 20, and have a lot more bells and whistles on it than I’m used to, but it’ll still cost me too much in fuel and be a bugger to park at Tesco, which is the sort of driving I really enjoy! The Edge 01245 348256

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OMG, what a hunk! Yep, that’s Ross Edgley alright, the bloke who recently became the first geezer to swim around Great Britain. The Edge had never even heard of him prior to him striding back out of the Margate surf at the beginning of last month, but once seen, never forgotten, right? His epic feat - and there’s no doubt in The Edge’s mind that epic is precisely the right word for it - took him 157 days (over 5 months), during which he slept no more than 6 hours per night, sometimes even less, and swam for up to 12 hours every single day. In total, he swam some 1,792 miles, which is quite extraordinary as it’s about the same distance from London to Moscow by road. During that time, Edgley admits to having raced ferries (The Edge has been on a ferry from Weymouth to the Isle of Wight and all you need is some flash twat overtaking you doing the crawl), braved storms, swam with countless dolphins, suffered hundreds of jellyfish stings (The Edge has endured one and that was enough), became an experienced ‘seal spotter’, not to mention a bit of a connoisseur of our nations waters. “Scotland tasted really nice,” he quipped, “but the Humber estuary tasted like fertiliser.” Edgley admits that during the past five months, his body has adapted “to the point where I’m going to be pretty bad on land”, due to the extra muscle he’s gained in his shoulders and the deterioration of the muscles in his legs. Normal folk, like Edge readers, will probably not have even considered really weird stuff happening to him, such as his feet having completely lost their arches, not to mention turning purply-yellow. He also got salt mouth, trench foot, and has a sea ulcer on one of his his heels that simply refused to heal, due to him constantly being in the water. Oh yeah, and his tongue slowly started to disintegrate. But for all of the undoubted hardship, he’s also an immensely witty chap who was determined to ‘swim with a smile’. Taking on board a massive 15,000 calories per day, he has described his quest as “a giant eating competition with a bit of swimming thrown in for good measure”. He also managed to get through a 5kg bucket of petroleum jelly and consumed a crazy 649 bananas on route. While in the water, he ate every 20 minutes, with an occasional break for fortified porridge or noodles. “Due to the amount of time I spent on my own, totally surrounded by water, people have asked me whether I came to any amazing epiphanies,” he says. “But I’d often climb back onto the boat and simply ask, “Any chance of a cheese toastie?” The Edge is somewhat fascinated by this ’ere Ross Edgley fella and if you are too, you might also be interested in his bestseller called ‘The World’s Fittest Book’.

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What? That sounds reasonable enough to all of us here in the Headroom Dept. And anyway, it’s supposed to be good for you, isn’t it? Staff were filmed ‘knocking it back’ inside the offices of a decorating company based in the city of Zunyi, in southwestern Guizhou Province. The workers were also reportedly ordered to eat cockroaches by the management, who believed they had let the entire company down. Some of the staff were also reportedly ‘whipped’ into shape for good measure. Once the video went viral online, Zunyi Police confirmed that three members of the management staff (Guo, Cai and Huang) had all been arrested, pending further investigation. Other members of staff were reportedly made to have their heads shaved as punishment for similar shoddy performance.


There will be no holidays on the continent for Brits if the government fails to reach an agreement on data-sharing with the EU, ministers have been warned. One Labour MP raised a case in point when he said: “I have a major internet-based hotel and travel booking company in my constituency and, in the absence of an adequacy deal, they will have to strike 72,000 separate contractual agreements off their books with hotels throughout Europe. Do people really understand that if Brexit means Brexit, then no deal means no holidays?� DCMS secretary Jeremy Wright responded: “I happen to think that’s ever so slightly an alarmist way of looking at things. The fact is, we can comply with all the date adequacy measures that the EU says it requires.� However, it makes you think, doesn’t it? Cleethorpes again next summer, anyone?

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Man on the Clapham Omnibus

BACK HERE ALREADY? The memo appeared on the noticeboard in the fabled Edge Writer’s Lounge back in late summer, along with the year-end print deadlines: ‘One mention of the dratted ‘C’ word per columnist only in your December articles, thank you very much, troops.’ Come to think of it, I believe I might have mentioned the word in full a few months back, but clearly I’ve gotten away with it. To my mind, December related things started appearing around late October and by 1st November, the full-on seasonal adverts were appearing on television in all their glory. Saturday 2nd November saw the ASDA festive advert break cover, during Midsummer Murders, I seem to recall. Yes, it’s always full-on passion and excitement at ‘Mott Manor’ on a Saturday night, and over the course of the two hour whodunnit, it was on during every single break. One can see why it’s easy to be so very fatigued with it all so very quickly, can’t one? Heaven forbid if you are unfortunate enough to work in retail and you are now locked into a hellish loop of ‘Now THAT’S what I call Christmas’ until January 2019. However, I make no apologies in confessing that I get unashamedly sentimental at this particular time of the year, and why the hell not. It’s the kitsch, the songs, the lights, and everything else that’s going on, along with the temporary permission to eat and drink to fulfillment under the exemption of ‘Well, it’s Christmas!’ without the household ‘Enjoyment Police’ daring to step in. Of course, it all ends in tears come 2nd January, when one is forced to wear tracky bottoms to the office as one’s suits no longer fit, but that’s something to be dealt with then, definitely not now. That said, we have to look at the wider picture. Even EE, who is always bemoaning the season to be merry, begrudgingly admits to liking the event in small doses (see last month’s alarming confession), albeit finding it all a wee bit samey. So to remedy that, he is apparently going to be having moose steaks for his Christmas day lunch, didn’t he say? Or was it elk? Oh c’mon, that’s almost a joke worthy of filling a Christmas cracker! Undoubtedly for some, Christmas can be a particularly stressful time of the year, but for many of us it is, generally speaking, most enjoyable. Yes, it means different things to different people, but that’s the world we live in and there’s nothing wrong with that. The key to it all is that for a very few weeks, it still has the ability to bring people together. Whatever one’s view, surely the true vibe of Christmas cannot be denied, nor its power which allows us all to

forgive and forget, at least for a very short period. And surely that cannot be a bad thing, even if it is the merchandisers who have cornily convinced us it is the season of goodwill. Surely it is also a time for us to let our guard down and treat each other properly and isn’t it a crying shame that it takes a major calendar event to do just that? This has been a long year for me for a variety of reasons, including the loss of both friends and family. At my age, that is sadly simply a part of life, but it doesn’t make it any easier. The advent of (not an intentional gag, but you can have it for free) the season brings us a chance to brighten the darkness of winter’s gloom that is now with us after such a glorious summer. Sure, the decorations are cheesy - they are at ‘Mott Manor’ anyway - and the twinkling tree lights are always a pain to string up. But surely cheery/cheesy decorations bring welcome relief and lift one’s gloomy spirits, if only a little. Christmas is surely a time to create memories that last a lifetime, even if there are some of Gran overdoing the Harvey’s Bristol Cream (and I’ll bet a fair few of you are already wincing at the memory)! By the time most of you get to read this article in early December, we will already have witnessed an event in the Mott household that will create memories to (hopefully) make Christmas 2018 even a bit more special. Our son is getting married in early December to a wonderful girl who has made him complete and brought him so much happiness. So whilst we remember, all of us, those that cannot be with us, we should take this event and add it to our cherished memories forever. And I will even pass over on my customary cheap gag sign-off to wish my son and his new bride a long and happy marriage that is blessed with both good and happy times, full of events that will create their own unique lifelong memories. Though how she will cope with a surname like Tweedstrangler is most definitely another matter. So be happy, hold the ones you love tightly, watch out for each other, talk to each other, and look ahead towards the sun which is just over the horizon. Sentimentally ‘yours aye’....

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once to get their hands on the bits that have not been burnt. We usually have so much food we could feed a Third World nation for a month on sausage rolls and mince pies, and we’re usually still picking at it all come March!

TOTALLY TRACIE ALL I WANT FOR XMAS Are you someone who looks forward to Christmas every year, or are you someone, like me, who dreads it? I hate all the Christmas music. Surely the challenge of the 21st Century must be to write a new Christmas playlist? I am just sick to death of ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ banging on from mid-October, or Slade's ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’, which is estimated to earn them £500k a year in royalties (nice little earner since 1970). Not to mention Mariah Carey who rakes in a cool £400k from her yearly warbling. And let’s not even go there so far as Michael Buble is concerned, who only starts defrosting in October to cash in on Christmas. Surely it’s time for someone to record something new and catchy? Every year the same old rubbish gets wheeled out. Christmas definitely needs a shake-up. Father Christmas could do with a bit of a makeover too. He’s been wearing that old red suit since Queen Victoria was on the throne. Surely it’s time to retire him? And what are reindeers all about? It's animal exploitation. Surely Santa should be driving a Tesla and wearing a tracksuit these days? And shouldn’t he also be ;NonBinary Gender’ in today's society? It’s the same old, same old every single year tunes to get ourselves into debt over. Then there’s the supermarket wars who spend millions on pointless Christmas adverts. Oh how we laughed at ‘Kevin the Carrot’ and Elton John as a boy on Christmas morning, before we all rush off to the very same store to bang it all on our credit cards (NOT)! If you cannot afford a luxury M&S Christmas, then there’s always Iceland and their sumptuous platters, with everyone laughing and passing the dishes around, with not a sad, defrosting plastic bag in sight. Whereas the reality is, you try peeling the plastic off those mini fish’n’chip cone things. Mine always come out of the oven looking like the cat spat on them. And don't get me started on the Prawn Ring. Even the cat turns its nose up at those. Although you do have to hand it to Iceland this year, for their Christmas message about saving the planet. Bravo! Round our house, it's everyone for themselves at Christmas. My cooking’s not what you would call Cordon Bleu - far more just a blur through the smoke, followed by the frantic prodding of the fire alarm with a broom handle. Then everyone rushes at Page 30

I also get sick to death of the Champagne reviews, where ghastly testers try out various supermarket brands of champers and pit them against each other for price and taste. That’s before they start of the mince pies and Christmas cake, marking them for texture and flavour and colour and packaging etc. Let's face it, by the time you are at the stage of shoving mince pies and Christmas cake in your face, you’re way past caring what anything tastes like. I think it’s high time we had an alternative Christmas - say once every 5 years instead. And let’s stop entering a song for Europe and start employing musician’s talents on a few new Christmas jingles instead. Surely the X-Factor could be used for something far more productive? My days of listening, with dewy eyes, to ‘All I want for Christmas is You’ has long since been replaced with ‘All I want for Christmas is a week away from the in-laws on a cruise’.

CAN I HAVE SOME MORE, PLEASE? Never talk politics, or religion, with your friends is a bit of advice that I always stick to. But I cannot help wondering what 2019 holds for us. Will we leave the EU and stick two fingers up at Junker, or will we crawl away tugging our forelock and begging for mercy? Depends on what news channel you listen to. We’ll either come out of it all smelling of roses, or something not quite so pleasant. The scaremongering has truly begun in earnest. “Start stockpiling food and squirrel away a Brexit cupboard!” screams one newspaper, while another’s concerns is the potentially shortage of Mars Bars. I don’t care - I gave up chocolate in 2016 and I've never looked back. But there may also be a shortage of rice, pasta, mustard and Olive Oil screamed another tabloid. But once again, I don’t care, as I haven’t eaten a single carb since 1992. What does concern me is mascara become scarce though, as the additive is made in the EU. Now that news has worried me a bit, because every girl knows you can leave everything else off, but you can't leave the house without your mascara on! Things really are starting to get a bit worrying to say the least. Maybe we should rethink this leaving lark, especially when it starts to interfere with our make-up. I can cope without chocolate and carbs, but I definitely draw the line at no make-up. Still, maybe we should be thankful for Christmas this year, when we can bag up our leftovers and freeze them for the cold, bitter day when Brexit arrives and we are all starving hungry. Wishing you a Merry Christmas, A Happy New Year, and see you all again on the other side......

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The Edge Magazine December 2018  

Chelmsford Fanzine with local news, fun and current affairs

The Edge Magazine December 2018  

Chelmsford Fanzine with local news, fun and current affairs